Monday, May 16, 2011

I wouldn't be me if it weren't for Slave Lake

I grew up in a small town in Northern Alberta. About 2.5 hours north of Edmonton, with a population of 7,000. That town was Slave Lake. Though I haven't called Slave Lake home in many years, it will forever be my hometown.

Last night, Slave Lake went up in flames. The pictures are horrifying and since the full evacuation was ordered, information has been sparse. It breaks my heart thinking about pieces of my childhood being burned. And though my family and friends are all ok, I can't imagine what life will be like when they return, what devastation awaits them.

Slave Lake is where the seeds of Iris started: where I met my two oldest friends; where I learned to skate (and subsequently fall); where I made far too many poor boy choices; where everyone knew me as Bob's daughter (which I still have a complex about); where I had my first job (a janitor at my best friend's dad's clinic); where I got drunk for the first time and smoked my first ciggie.

Most of yesterday, I watched the internet in horror, realizing my childhood home, businesses my dad built, friends' homes and many other pieces of my history are now gone.

For all the times I have tried to hide my Slave Lake roots, I know (and have known), beyond a shadow of a doubt,
I wouldn't be me if it weren't for Slave Lake
And now much of the town is gone.

My heart breaks for the town, for its residents, for its alumni, for everyone that has been touched by this Northern Alberta gem.

If you feel compelled to donate (which I hope many of you do) the Red Cross is probably the best way to do it.